Riverhead's varsity cheerleaders scored recently, when they took home top honors at the Winter Cheer Classic in East Islip on Sunday.
Eight varsity cheerleading squads, including Newfield, Patchogue-Medford, Westhampton Beach, Ward Melville, Holy Trinity, Carle Place, St. Anthony's and Riverhead, competed in the WCC.
The RHS Blue Waves Varsity Cheerleaders will now go on to compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championships at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida on Feb. 9 and 10.
"The team had to overcome a number of obstacles this weekend, so we are very happy to have come home with a first place win," coach Stephanie Piraino said. "We had two athletes out for the past two weeks with the flu, and two others were injured. This caused us to change our original game plan and forced the team to take on additional responsibilities, learn new positions, and rework the routine. With less than two full team practices, the team had to focus and help one another in order to perform a winning routine."
The varsity cheerleading team consists of Miranda Bennett, Amber Kempermann, Gabby Grace, Gianna Pino, all captains; Suzanne Burke, Carly Klerk, Marissa Evans, Kelly Anderson, Lexi Davis, Ardis Corwin, Shannon Allwinn, Ines Garcia, and Miranda Alliotta.
The team is coached by head coach Stephanie Piraino and assistant coach Ellen Pisano.
The team began practicing for the competition in August by attending the UCA Pine Forest Elite Camp in the Poconos, Piraino said. The cheerleaders also practice six days a week, support the football and basketball teams, and have been competing at their own tournaments since November.
"The team, with the help of our fabulous booster club, was able to raise all the funds to attend the national competition," Piraino said.
The national competition will be televised on ESPN, and includes coverage of all the teams competing.